The email I sent to my Dad in January

I’m going to call her more often. Don’t worry about that.

But you Dad? Stop lying to me. I know you still drink. And you keep talking about what you “have to do.” What you have to do should have been done 12 years ago, Dad. Stop drinking. It’s that simple. That and actually talk to Mom. I keep saying to myself and to Mom and [sister] that the only way you will absolutely change for the better is if you hit rock bottom. What you don’t seem to get is that you already have. So stop talking about change and just do it. We’ve been waiting 12 years for you to do it. You say you’re tired of yourself even. You’re tired of drinking and your body can’t handle it anymore. Just because im 2 thousand miles away it doesn’t mean you can make that stop at the store. I’m not dumb Dad. I’m not a kid anymore. Stop lying to me.

And you telling me to tell mom that I will come home? Don’t you think you’ve put us through a lot already? Do you really need to put more pressure on me by telling me to lie to mom? I told her IF THINGS ACTUALLY CHANGE (which I know they haven’t) I will come home. That’s going to take you stopping drinking, you and mom going to therapy (alone or together), and you to make positive changes. You need to help out mom more, take on more responsibility around the house. Be a team. But don’t expect her to make the initiative. She’s tired. You think you’re tired? While you were busy numbing you pain away for 12 years we had to deal with your drunk self. So don’t you dare say that you’re tired. You obviously don’t know tired.

She has done everything for you. Everything you have in your life, the house, the cars, your daughters, is because of her. And instead of living that life, you feel sorry for yourself. And for what? Why? what the hell do you have to feel sorry for? You have so much in this life. And if you lived it right, so much more to come.

You told [sister] over dinner, when she told you she was moving in with [her boyfriend], “Your Abuela would be turning in her grave if she knew you were doing this.” Well Dad, hate to break it to you, but I promise you she’s turned more in her grave watching down on us, watching how your drinking has pulled apart our family. Quit talking and actually do. Make your parents proud. Get rid of your pride and realize your faults and ACTUALLY change them. Be the MAN you promised Mom to be, and the Father every daughter wishes to have.

Imagine if [sister] or I married a man that acted like you. Would you be happy for us? I’m lucky I have a strong Mom, because you, Dad? You have no qualities that I would want in a significant other. You are prideful and have a huge blind side that even when it is revealed to you by others, you still dont see. You are a reactive person— you don’t change until something bad happens to you. But what about everyone you love? What about us? All the bad you have done to us?

I’ve been as nice as I can be to you, Dad.

And the more I think about it, I can’t say I love you. I can’t say Mom or [sister] loves you. We resent you. But I can say we love the Man YOU USED TO BE. So stop being all talk.

Realize that you have already hit rock bottom. You’ve been in it for 12 years. And I think you don’t fully understand that mom WILL divorce you. You will lose all contact with [sister] and I. Mom has a chance at being happy. You on the other hand, you don’t seem to be happy with mom, or with the idea of being without her. Well it’s just an idea to you that can easily become a reality. It is a reality that is just waiting for papers to be signed. SO GET THAT IN YOUR HEAD.

I’m planning to see a therapist myself. I have before in the past about you. And with all this pressure I have no choice. I can’t focus in class, in work. I’m unhappy knowing that you’re tearing our family apart. And whether or not im there, even if I’m 2,000 miles away, there is nothing I can do to change it. You tell me to call mom and make her happy. Well, no need to worry about that. I will make her happy. I will make her proud and so happy to call me her daughter until the day I die. But will you?

You think Mom and [sister] don’t talk to me? That they don’t tell me your drunk nights, and the stupid crap you say to them when you’re drunk? How you have for 12 years and continue to embarrass them (and me) in front of our friends. Just because Im not there doesn’t mean I dont know whats going on.

You know how I will tell things are better? I will see it. So stop lying to me.

You know you talked to grandma, telling her to stop dwelling on the past and to reconnect with Mom. Realize that you have already lost Mom. So you better work double time to win her back. And realize whats at risk if you don’t. Practice what you preach.

Go back to your therapist. Don’t stop going. And don’t use the excuse that you want mom to go too. You think after 12 years of this bullshit she is willing to go? After 12 years of her telling you to stop, she now is sure you are the problem. So no matter if she goes or not, you go. You go, and don’t stop going. She will see that and maybe go on her own. Go on walks with her. Go to the beach with her. Pick a flower for her. Leave her notes and make her breakfast. If you truly love her, show her. Stop drinking. Stop drinking. Not one sip. Not one 16 oz. can. Not one drink at parties. NOTHING. If you really love us, YOU WILL STOP.

So stop talking. Do it. Until I see it get better, stop talking to me about it. I have been so nice to you Dad, because I love the man you USED TO BE. I will know how things are going without you lying to me. Overall, quit with the lies. WE ARE NOT STUPID. We see right through them.

Win us back by being that man you used to be again. Not just for a few weeks, giving us false hope. But forever. I mean forever. Or end up alone.

So get to it. If not now, when? stop wasting time.


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